"Shoulda been me on that table, not her." Big Brother Wishes He Could have Saved Little Sister
By Meghan Matthews. CREATED Jun 18, 2014
Pilger, NE - "I don't know. I don't even know how I'm gonna tell her, I'm still trying to figure it out. One step at a time."
Cody Murphree can barely utter the words. How he will ever tell his mother, her little girl is gone.
"She was a smart, funny girl. She just loved everybody. All she ever wanted to do was become a doctor."
Cody, his mother and two little sisters had just moved to Pilger from Alabama four months ago. He survived the tornado day in the south 3 years back. He even helped clean up, but never thought a storm could ruin everything he knows.
"There's just rubble everywhere. There's not much to salvage from there. It's just buildings fallen in together. Just a clutter."
Cody warned his mom Monday afternoon to get to grandma's, across the street from their mobile home. A tornado was headed straight for Pilger.
Cody's family never made it to shelter.
"They were trying to make it to the gas station or the bank across the street. But by that time it was just too late."
The power of the EF 4 tornado crumbled 100 year old buildings, tossed cars like toys, mangled metal and took lives.
"All you could hear was big rumbling sounds. everybody was holding each other and everything."
Beth Sanee works at the gas station across from Cody's home. She knew the Murphrees. She found Cody's family. His four year old sister Robin ran to her in a panic. Beth saw the mother covered in blood in the road. Cody's little sister, five year old Calista Dixon wasn't moving.
"When I went up to her she was laying mostly, like her head was on a piece of tin that was cut into her head. I kept trying to keep her calm. Trying to make sure she wouldn't move."
The small town of Pilger has to start over. Branch by branch, they will rebuild. While it won't bring back a child's smile, Cody has to stay strong and be a big brother for little Robin. He will somehow, he says, try to fill the hole in his heart.
"Shoulda been me on that table, not her."